Fugitive captured in Ben Hill County - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Fugitive captured in Ben Hill County

March 14, 2004

Ben Hill County -- A manhunt for a West Virginia jail escapee ends in Ben Hill County after a two day, multi-state search. Friday, 42-year-old Joseph Eugene Howard over powered a guard at a West Virginia jail and escaped in pickup truck with several guns. The manhunt lead to Southwest Georgia and just ended Sunday.

Telfair Police spotted West Virginia jail escapee Joseph Howard around 2 Sunday  morning, when Howard lead them on a high speed chase before crashing and escaping into the woods in Coffee County.

"Just a lot of patrolman and everything. It was crazy," says Ben Hill resident Terry Jowers.

While on run, Howard made his way to Ben Hill County where he tried to find shelter by breaking down the doors of a church.

"Somebody one big and strong had hit the doors and almost got in but did not quit get in," said Union Methodist church member Don Hood.

Dogs searched the area and helicopters flew overhead. Around 2:30 this Sunday twelve hours after Howard was spotted in the stolen truck the manhunt came to a dramatic end.

"The dogs tracked after his and he was just laid in the woods covered in straw," says K-9 handler and arresting officer Matt Gourely.

Now Howard is an Telfair Jail facing a list of charges before he transported to West Virginia.

No one was hurt in the recovery of Howard. Police orginally believed that he had come to South Georgia area to murder someone. Howard was serving a life sentence in West Virginia for burglary and grand larceny.

posted at 8:50PM by scott.hunter@walb.com

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